"Tyler is a hero, to not just me, but everyone in this small town" said longtime friend Steven Gibbs. It was a solemn day Saturday for the small town of Burney as hundreds of family, friends and comrades paid their final respects to Lance Corporal Tyler Roads.
"We've got young men like Tyler who are sacrificing for our freedom, we have people who care that he is doing that and when there is a tragedy, we rally around to comfort each other" explained Assemblyman Jim Nielsen. Roads was just three days shy of his 21st birthday when he was shot and killed while manning his station in Afghanistan a week ago friday.
"He went out there and did what he was told to do, just couldn't be more proud of him and I love and miss him" said longtime friend Rock Leonard. Dozens of fellow marines, soldiers and veterans honored Roads for his service and bravery. "even in Palm Springs, Newport Beach, Weed and Fresno, people are aware of Tyler's loss, and they pause a moment to reflect" Assemblyman Nielsen said.
The tight knit community of Burney is no stranger to the pain of losing a local hero. Burney High graduate Marine Captain Matthew Bancroft died in 2002 after the air-refueling tanker he was flying crashed in Southwest Pakistan. But friends of Tyler say nothing can prepare you for pain this deep. " We always had great times, always put a smile on our face, his and everyone else's" longtime friend Travis Bushey said.
Those who knew Roads say he was always a marine at heart. And while his time on Earth was fare too short, his memory will last a lifetime. " Wish there could have been more, but thanks for everything man, we love youâ?쳌 Leonard said.